Medicare Part B
If you don’t know what Medicare Part B coverage is, then this post will help you understand how it works and how it can cover you. Essentially, it is an outpatient healthcare coverage to pay for all necessary medical services. It pays for things medical services that you receive in and out of the hospital. It is a type of coverage that can pay for any medical care provided by any physician.
The Coverage of Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B is your outpatient coverage. When you retire, you can no longer access health coverage. Thus, Medicare will be your main insurance.
As mentioned, it doesn’t just give you outpatient coverage. It can pay 80% of doctor’s visits, medical equipment labwork, chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation, and dialysis, among others.
It also covers colonoscopies, flu shots and other preventive care services. It can also handle some chiropractic care, ambulance rides, and home health care.
If you received drugs, such as osteoporosis injections, antigens, insulin, and infused drugs, when hospitalized, Medicare Part B will also cover them. But other outpatient drugs will be covered by Part D.
Although Part B is optional, you will need it if your Medicare is your main coverage. Furthermore, if you are planning to obtain supplemental coverage or Medigap, then you need to obtain this coverage.
How Much Will It Cover?
Under Part B, it can pay for 80% of any Medicare-approved service. However, before it gives coverage, you will have to settle the yearly deductible of Part B. Once you are done paying it, Part B will start paying for your medical services.
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What is the Monthly Premium of Medicare Part B?
Just like any other health plan, Medicare Part B has a monthly premium to obtain its benefits. Most Americans will pay the standard amount as set by the government.
In 2020, the standard rate is $144.60 per month. It applies to individuals who are new to Medicare. But you may need to pay more if your income falls above a certain level.
Please use our Medicare costs page to check out the costs based on the income bracket. You should remember that if you enroll in Part B late, a penalty is imposed.
For that reason, you must never miss your initial enrollment when you retire. Once you lose access to your employer’s health insurance, you should immediately enroll in Part B.
If you enrolled your SS income benefits, Medicare will automatically deduct your premiums from your SS check. If it’s not possible, then Medicare will bill you quarterly.
You may also choose to pay for its premium through your credit card. To do that, you should fill out the bottom part of the payment coupon. Then, mail it to the collection center.
Another payment option is through Medicare Easy Pay. It is an auto draft service. It deducts your monthly premium from a savings or checking account.
Ways to Enroll in Medicare Part B
There is no need for you to enroll if you are receiving Social Security income benefits when you reached 65. The reason for this is that as soon as you turn 65, the Social Security office will enroll you automatically. You will receive a card one to two months before your 65th birthday.
If that is not your case, you should apply for it yourself when you turn 65. You can enroll in Part B online. Or you can do it over the phone or go to your local Social Security office.
You will have to wait two to three weeks before you get your card. In that case, make sure that you apply for this plan several weeks before you need the coverage.
It is easy to enroll in this health plan. But you must do it during your initial enrollment period to avoid paying for a certain penalty. Once you are enrolled, Medicare Part B will cover you for hospital visits, hospice care, skilled nursing, and other outpatient medical care services.
Will It Provide Coverage for All Outpatient Services?
Medicare Part B will cover for any medical service that is considered medically necessary. Thus, if your doctor prescribes a certain procedure, this health plan will cover it.
On the other hand, if Medicare doesn’t consider the procedure as necessary, you will have to submit additional documentation. But Medicare pays 95% of all claims.
Medicare Part B will only cover hospital expenses that are not included in Part A. This health plan also does not include routine dental, hearing, vision and foot care, as well as any cosmetic procedures.
If you purchase a drug from a retail pharmacy, then Part B will not cover it. For prescription drugs that you bought from a pharmacy, you will have to obtain a Part D drug plan to cover them.
It also doesn’t cover medical services that are not considered as necessary. Your physician knows the rules for what Part B will cover.
This health plan will not handle everything for you. In that case, you will have to pay a certain portion of the cost. But the medical service must be medically necessary.
Generally, you will pay the yearly Part B deductible which is $198 before Part B will start covering you. After that, Part B will pay for 80% of the Medicare-approved medical services while you handle the remaining 20%.
You will also have to pay the excess charges that a facility will charge you that are not part of Medicare.
Despite how useful Part B is, 20% of remaining costs can still add up to thousands of dollars. It is especially true if you are undergoing surgery or chemotherapy. That’s why many seniors are opting to obtain supplemental coverage.
The initial enrollment period is when you will turn 65. You will have six months around your 65th birthday. You must take advantage of this period to avoid paying the late enrollment penalty fee.
The penalty is 10% per year for every 12 full months that you waited to enroll. This penalty is applied on top of the Part B premium. In 2020, the amount will reach $144.60.
If you choose to enroll late, you could be paying a lifelong penalty.
If you decide to enroll, you will have to wait for the Open Enrollment Period for Part B. It typically runs from January 1 to March 31 every year. Your Part B benefits will start in July.
If you wish to protect yourself against the high fees related to Part B, then consider getting Medicare Supplements. You may also choose to obtain a Medicare Advantage plan to help you pay for the Medicare Part A and B out-of-pocket expenses.